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How to Declutter Common Problem Areas Around the House

We all have common spots in our homes where clutter collects more easily—including garages, linen closets, storage rooms, and the ever-messy junk drawer. If you’re tired of dealing with clutter in these spaces, you can declutter your home by tackling these 12 common problem areas!

How to Declutter the Junk Drawer

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To create a functional “junk drawer”—that is, the drawer where you typically keep scissors, pens, notepads, phone chargers, and other miscellaneous items—you need to get rid of items you don’t use, and then organize the drawer in an intentional way.

  • Pull everything out of the drawer and decide if it should be kept here or stored elsewhere. Remember to store items where you use them so they’re easy to put back and avoid clutter in your home. If it’s a miscellaneous item you use frequently, keep it in the drawer for easy accessibility. Discard anything that’s broken, duplicate, or non-essential.
  • For optimal junk drawer organization, use dividers that neatly fill the drawer. Other drawer organizing ideas include using muffin tins, ice cube trays, and makeup trays.
  • When considering how to organize your drawer, sort items into groups (e.g., office supplies, electrical items, tools, household items). Make sure all items are easy to get to and nothing gets caught when opening the drawer.
  • To keep your junk drawer clean and organized, follow a consistent declutter schedule to ensure you regularly assess items in the drawer and remove anything that doesn’t belong.

How to Declutter Surfaces

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Tabletops, kitchen counters, bathroom counters, coffee tables, end tables, and the tops of dressers and nightstands collect random items, which can make rooms feel more cluttered than they are. By removing items from flat surfaces and limiting how many things can be kept on each surface, you can help these areas stay clutter-free.

  • Take note of which items tend to pile up on the flat surfaces in your home, then designate a special place for those items to be kept or stored. Only items used on a daily basis should be left out.
  • Limit the number of decorative items allowed on each surface to three or four pieces. Use decorative trays to group items together. This will make surfaces seem deliberate rather than cluttered.
  • Store books, magazines, and documents away from surfaces. Move books and magazines onto shelves or racks, and use binders or file folders to store bills, notes, and other important documents.
  • If you decorate for holidays, remove and store everyday decor while the holiday decorations are on display to reduce the clutter.
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How to Declutter the Pantry

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Without a purposeful storage and organization system, your kitchen pantry is bound to become cluttered with random kitchen appliances, canned goods, boxed foods, spices, and more. Organizing this problem area with functional pantry storage that’s easy to maintain can make cooking and meal prep less frustrating.

  • Sort through your pantry before making trips to the store and take inventory of food you already have to avoid adding duplicates. Grouping similar items together can make this easier.
  • Use airtight plastic bins or glass storage containers to store dry foods like pasta, rice, cereal, flour, oatmeal, and sugar. Write the expiration date on the back of the container with a washable marker.
  • Remove pre-packaged food items from larger boxes and store them in wicker or wire baskets. This can help you find items more easily and grab them on the go.
  • Every time you deep clean your kitchen, take a few extra minutes to dust, wipe down the shelves, and get rid of expired food in your pantry to help keep the pantry organized.
  • Consider setting limits on how long an item can sit in the pantry. For instance, any non-perishable items you don’t eat within a couple months should be donated to your local food bank.

How to Declutter the Refrigerator & Freezer

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Constantly knocking things over when you reach for something in the back of the fridge? Tired of throwing away lettuce every week because you forgot about it? Don’t know what’s hidden deep in your freezer? An organized fridge and freezer can help prevent food waste and make finding items easier.

  • Before you go grocery shopping, empty your fridge and freezer and toss out any expired foods. This can help you avoid buying more than you need and reduce waste.
  • Use clear, acrylic storage bins to maximize storage space. Group similar items together like veggies, herbs, fruits, cheeses, and lunch meats.
  • Store condiments, sauces, and other jars on a turntable to avoid having to dig through your fridge to find something in the back and prevent items from being forgotten about for months.
  • Store leftovers in clear, stackable food containers so you can see what’s inside. Remove any unused leftovers every weekend to prevent a cluttered fridge.
  • Use freezer-safe storage containers to group similar items like meat, chicken, or kid-friendly foods in your freezer. Store food with the earliest expiration date in front so you use it first.
  • Take note of things that tend to go bad frequently. This will help you decide which perishable items should go straight into the freezer, be bought in smaller quantities, or get removed from your grocery list.

How to Declutter Under the Sink

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Under-the-sink storage is common in kitchens and bathrooms—and it’s also one of the easiest places to accumulate clutter because it’s often dark, cramped, and out of sight. By decluttering and organizing under the sink, you can get more functional storage in your kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Designate the under-the-sink area for storing specific types of items—such as cleaning supplies and overstock—so it doesn’t turn into a catch-all for items you just want out of the way.
  • Consolidate beauty products or cleaning supplies if you have some that are half-empty or nearly empty. This can help you better maximize available storage space.
  • Use plastic containers or bins to store products and supplies. That way, you can pull bins out like a drawer rather than digging around in the cabinet for what you need.
  • Regularly refill your chosen storage containers or bins and discard any additional packaging the products come in immediately after purchasing.
  • Eliminate dead space by using hidden kitchen storage ideas like double-drawers or a Lazy Susan, and stackable plastic drawers for things like dishwasher pods, sponges, wash rags, or air freshener refills. Use hidden bathroom storage like adding hooks, baskets, or magnetic strips on the back of cabinet doors to hang items.

How to Declutter the Medicine Cabinet

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Do items fall out of your medicine cabinet every time you open the door? Maintaining a decluttered, well-organized medicine cabinet will come in handy if you need to find a specific medicine quickly and can help you keep track of what’s expired and what needs to be restocked.

  • Sort through everything in the cabinet, identify any expired medicine or old prescriptions, and safely dispose of them. It’s good to regularly examine and clean the space, too.
  • Use storage baskets or turntables to help with medicine cabinet organization. Make sure they’re labeled and fit easily inside of the cabinet.
  • If you buy more of a certain over-the-counter medicine like cough syrup or aspirin before the previous box or bottle is empty, consolidate. This prevents duplicates from cluttering the cabinet.
  • Create an organization system based on what you use and how often so you don’t just cram medicines, bandages, and ointments wherever they can fit.
  • Group similar items together. Keep kids medicine, vitamins, prescriptions, and other medicine in distinct, labeled bins.
  • Use a separate bin to store first-aid supplies. Regularly refill commonly used items like bandages or antibiotic ointments so they’re always ready at a moment’s notice.

How to Declutter the Entryway

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One of the main reasons mudrooms get cluttered is because it’s the drop zone for bags, keys, coats, hats, and other items. Keeping your entryway free of clutter will not only give guests a good impression of your home, but also help you simplify your daily routine and locate items with ease.

  • Start by clearing each cabinet, drawer, and shelf, and then sort through what belongs and what can go. This is the opportunity to throw away old mail and any other junk that has been collecting.
  • Decide what items are “out-the-door” essentials—like keys, purses, and backpacks—and create a designated spot for each of these items.
  • Organize the coats and shoes you’ll keep in the mudroom. Limit this to a few pairs you wear frequently and cycle items in and out at the end of every season to avoid clutter.
  • To help prevent hats, scarves, and gloves from taking over the space, store these items in baskets you can pull down when needed. Hang bags, coats, and keys from hooks so they’re easy to access and put back.

How to Declutter the Linen Closet

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The main reason linen closets get so cluttered is there’s simply too much in them—and they occasionally become a catch-all for random items. By limiting the number of towels, bedsheets, toiletries, and home supplies you keep in your linen closet, you can avoid cluttering this space.

  • Purge any non-essential or old linens. You really only need one extra set of sheets per bed and a few towels per person.
  • Organize your linens by categories for optimal linen closet organization. Most-used linens should be stored on an easy-to-reach shelf. Store decorative or holiday linen on top shelves.
  • Properly fold sheets and towels to maximize shelf and basket space when storing linens in the closet.
  • Avoid overstocking your closet. Store extra toiletries or cleaning supplies in a basket on the bottom shelf. Before purchasing any new products, try to use everything in the basket first.
  • Any time you buy new linens or towels, purge the old ones. Cycling out old linens for new linens helps prevent clutter buildup over time.

How to Declutter the Bedroom Closet

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There are tons of ways to organize your closet, but it’s best to start by decluttering. This can help you create a wardrobe stocked with your staple and favorite pieces and make it easier to find clothing and accessories in a pinch!

  • Set up your wardrobe with designated spots for your favorite timeless pieces. Donate any items that don’t fit, you no longer want, or haven’t worn in over a year.
  • Set a personal limit on the number of sentimental items you hold onto to avoid buildup. Decide the maximum number of items you can keep within each clothing category.
  • Hang as many clothes as you can. Organize your clothes by categories (e.g., work clothes, exercise clothes, casual wear).
  • Save room in your closet by neatly folding items you cannot hang—like jeans or thick sweaters—with the KonMari folding method.
  • Use a shoe rack for shoe storage so you can easily see and find what pair of shoes you need in a moment. Organize your shoe rack by separating shoes into seasons or types.
  • Make it a habit to declutter and reorganize your closet every time the season changes or every time you buy new clothes. This can help you avoid accumulating items you don’t need.

How to Declutter the Playroom

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Kids rooms are always tricky to declutter and organize because there are often lots of small items that don’t have designated storage places. With intentional organization and a frequent decluttering process, you can keep kids bedrooms and playrooms clutter-free so you’re not having to spend hours cleaning.

  • Regularly go through toys to get rid of any duplicate toys or throw away broken toys. Donate any toys in good shape that your kids no longer play with or have outgrown.
  • Set a limit for how many toys kids can have in their play area. Try using declutter methods like the One In, One Out Rule with toys to avoid clutter and get kids into a habit of keeping their space tidy.
  • Consider a toy rotation. This means you won’t have all toys in the playroom at once, reducing the potential for clutter. Keep toys not currently out in labeled plastic storage tubs.
  • Create a “home” for everything to make cleanup time easier for little ones. Use baskets or bins in cubby shelves to store toys where kids can reach them easily.
  • To help kids get in the habit of cleaning up their toys, create a clean-up schedule. This will teach kids the importance of putting their toys in the correct spot.

How to Declutter the Storage Room

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When things are out of sight, they’re out of mind. The storage room is the go-to place for overflow items, miscellaneous furniture, and holiday decorations, which means clutter is common in this space. Whether your storage room is under the steps, a utility room, or in the corner of the basement—you can avoid clutter and find things faster by removing things you no longer need and organizing everything.

  • After each season, sort through decorations you didn’t use and donate them. Consider gifting unused sentimental items to a family member.
  • Use clear, stackable storage bins so you can see what’s inside when placed against a wall or on shelves. Label all bins with what’s inside, especially if they’re not see-through.
  • Group similar items together and create sections. One section of your storage room could be for holiday decorations, and another section could be for travel gear.
  • Create a storage room organization system where you store the most-used items front and center in easily accessible spots. Store seasonal items up higher on shelves or farther back in the room.
  • If you don’t already have shelves in your storage room, wire or plastic storage shelves are an easy-to-assemble, sturdy option to help declutter your space, create organization, and improve maneuverability.

How to Declutter the Garage

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Similar to storage rooms, the garage tends to be a catch-all for items not yet ready to be thrown out or given away. Add organizing the garage to your monthly decluttering checklist and help prevent clutter from building up in your garage.

  • Get rid of any old sports equipment, broken holiday decorations, and unused yard tools. Donate items that have been untouched or are in good shape.
  • Categorize items for storage and keep them in clear storage bins. Label and store bins on garage storage shelves.
  • Hang shovels, rakes, and brooms on the wall to maximize vertical storage space. Try a DIY pegboard with designated spots for hanging tools if you don’t have a workbench with storage drawers.
  • Take advantage of ceiling space. Install overhead garage storage racks to keep sporting equipment, holiday decor, or winter gear out of the way until you need it.
  • Store bikes, scooters, strollers, and lawn equipment close to the garage door for easy access. Use a sports equipment organizer to store balls, bats, rackets, and more.
  • Utilize hooks, shelves, and shoe storage racks if your garage doubles as a mudroom to prevent boots and coats from piling up in aisles or near the door.


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